EEOC Sues Standard Register for Failure to Stop Sex-Based Harassment
YORK, PA—A leading national document services provider based in Dayton, OH, failed to take appropriate action to stop the sex-based harassment of a female employee at its facility in York, PA, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC’s suit, Penny Zink, of York, began working for the Standard Register Co. in February 2005. After she transferred to the all-male coater department as a press trainee, her male coworkers repeatedly discriminated against and harassed her because of her sex. This unlawful treatment included calling her names, yelling at her, failing to give her the needed assistance to work on a two-person machine even though male employees were given that aid, depriving her of necessary work information essential to the performance of her job, ostracizing her and leaving anonymous notes mocking her. She was allegedly told that she was “not as good as the guys.”
Zink was forced to quit her job, the EEOC charges, because the company failed to stop the sex-based harassment, even though she had repeatedly complained for almost one year to company managers and supervisors about the mistreatment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to harass an employee based on sex. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 09-1874) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, including policies, procedures and training to prevent future workplace discrimination. The EEOC also seeks to have the company compensate Zink for her monetary losses and emotional pain and humiliation.
“This lawsuit shows that 45 years after the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act, some employees still react with hostility and bias when women enter traditionally male-dominated fields,” said District Director Marie M. Tomasso of the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence added, “It is the company’s responsibility to provide a workplace free from sex-based discrimination and harassment. If they fail to do so, the EEOC will take strong action to show all employers and employees that complaints of discrimination must be taken seriously.”
In Fiscal Year 2008, sexual harassment filings with the EEOC rose to 13,867, an increase of almost 11 percent from the prior fiscal year.
According to its web site, http://www.standardregister.com, Standard Register earned $791.1 million in revenue in 2008. The company has 23 digital facilities, five rotary facilities, three label facilities and 22 warehouses. It employs 2,992 individuals.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.